Integrating expert opinions and data to estimate and forecast international migration

Arkadiusz Wisniowski, University of Manchester

Migration scenario-based projections and probabilistic forecasts are typically driven by data and / or expert opinion. Relatively few approaches integrate the two sources of information. Migration data provide evidence of ranges and variability of the phenomenon in the past and may thus be useful in assessing the unknown (current and future) levels and uncertainty of migration. However, it is well acknowledged in the literature that migration data are often inadequate, incomplete or entirely missing. Therefore, expert opinion can be used to provide information about the inadequacies of the data, plausibility of scenarios and narratives, and assessing detailed characteristics of migration. In this study, we review and evaluate the recent approaches of integrating international migration data and expert opinions that have been obtained by using a Delphi method. The method elicits and refines group judgements through iterative anonymous responses with controlled and aggregated feedback. It helps reduce bias due to an individual’s dominance and allows varying opinions of experts from different fields to converge. We also present results of the Delphi study on migration composition and policies in the European Union in the next 10 years. We propose how this information can be incorporated in projecting future migration and population.

Keywords: Qualitative data/methods/approaches, Bayesian methods / estimation, International migration, COVID-19

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  Presented in Session 88. Demographic Trends: Estimates and Projections